New Health First Center Provides Comprehensive, Personalized Breast Care
Brevard has an ally in compassionate care for women and the fight against breast cancer, the new Health First Breast Center in Melbourne. The all-inclusive breast care facility is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date technology for breast health.
“Our focus is to provide all aspects of of breast health services,” said Dr. Chanhi Park. “The technology is state-of-the-art.”
Services include screening and diagnostic mammography, tomosynthesis (3D) mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, breast biopsy and pre-surgical procedures. Breast surgeons include Dr. Noori and Dr. J. Patel and Dr. George Collis, who is a reconstructive surgeon and also sees patients at the Health First Breast Center.
Dr. Park explains, “The key to early detection is screening mammography. By the time a cancer is palpable, it is usually about 1.0 cm or greater. With screening, by definition, we are trying to find the cancers before they are palpable. Screening is for asymptomatic patients.”
The Breast Center streamlines services and allows easy access to professionals from consultation, to examination and treatment, if necessary. Located at the north side of the Health First Medical Group’s Gateway office, the Breast Center provides a supportive environment with a multidisciplinary team of experts that includes two breast surgeons with oncologic fellowships who work collaboratively to provide optimal patient care. The Center is also able to work with providers both inside and outside of the Health First system.
World-Class 3D Imaging
The Health First Breast Center offers 3D imaging using digital tomosynthesis. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it creates a 3-dimensional picture of the breast using X-rays. Digital tomosynthesis of the breast is different from a standard mammogram in the same way a CT scan of the chest is different from a standard chest X-ray,; it is 3-dimensional. Timeliness is key. The center also utilizies ultrasound and breast MRI as each individual case is different.
“It all starts with imaging,” said Dr. Park. “The goal is to diagnose early.”
Breast cancer begins in the breast tissue and can be associated with a mass. There are different types of breast cancer, and every patient’s treatment is individualized based on stage and other tumor-specific markers.
“With our advances in breast imaging, we are able to diagnose breast cancers at earlier stages,” adds Dr. Noori.
“If we call you back, it doesn’t mean you have cancer,” Dr. Park emphasized. “Even with biopsies, the majority are benign. You don’t need to panic.”
That kind of calm compassion is what the Breast Center envisions. The office is spa-like and meant to put patients at ease. Being diagnosed with breast cancer is emotional and patients of the Health First Breast Center also have the benefits of a nurse navigator, who help patients and their families successfully maneuver through the health care system.
The navigator has three main roles: personal advocate, support and resource provider and educator. The nurse navigator helps guide patients through all the treatment options available. She stays in constant communication with the patient’s oncologists, radiologist and surgeon throughout the treatment process.
Additionally, the navigator recommends resources and coordinates referrals to social workers, psychologists and support groups. She explains the advantages and disadvantages of various treatment options.
Treatment decisions are made based on the patient, the stage and the biological characteristics of the cancer. Women with breast cancer may undergo a surgical procedure that may be combined with other treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or targeted therapy.
Drs. Park and Noori often recommend genetic testing for individuals who are at a high risk or prior to any definitive treatment strategies being determined, and then use the results to make recommendations.
Diagnosis, Treatment and Support
Treatment of breast cancer entails a multi-disciplinary approach. The Health First Breast Center is dedicated to keeping up-to-date on the evolving changes in the field of breast cancer, which not only includes surgical options, but also innovations in medical and radiation oncology. Therefore, the dedicated staff and physicians can help patients understand and navigate the various therapeutic options.
Every year in the United States, close to 260,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. They are women of all ages and all types so Health First Cancer Services has a comprehensive and collaborative approach to cancer treatment. This includes personalized medicine that uses genetic and tumor markers to determine which treatment patients may be better suited, such as specific drug therapy. Health First Cancer Services’ Radiation Oncology is accredited by the American College of Radiology.
Health First’s state-of-the-art Breast Center is now open on the north end of the Health First Medical Group Gateway location (Gateway Drive in Melbourne.) The Breast Center provides a supportive environment with a multidisciplinary team of experts, providing guidance in planning ongoing breast care. For more information, visit HFbreasthealth.org.
Know the Facts:
Many of the known risk factors for breast cancer, such as age, family history, early menstrual period and later menopause, can’t be controlled. However, other factors that increase breast cancer risk can be corrected or changed, including postmenopausal obesity, use of estrogen and progestin, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.
Detection and Treatment
Early detection is the key to the successful treatment of breast cancer. The Health First Breast Program Clinical Committee recommends annual screening mammograms for women above the age of 40 without other significant risk factors. Patients can schedule their screening mammogram online at HFnow.org.
Sharon F. Noori, MD, is a fellowship trained breast surgeon, specializing in benign and malignant breast disease. Her breast oncology fellowship focused on breast cancer surgery. She also holds board certification in general surgery.
Dr. Noori earned a bachelor of science degree in biology with a minor in Persian studies from Emory University. She then pursued a master’s in Public Health at Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health. Dr. Noori earned a medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine.
She completed her general surgery residency at Orlando Regional Medical Center. She then completed a Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. She is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Chanhi Park, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Radiology and attended the Wellesley College where she earned a bachelor of arts in neurophysiology. She then received a medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. She completed her residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center and a Fellowship in Ultrasound, CT and MRI at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Park joined Brevard Physician Associates (BPA) in October 2015 as a partner with Health First, specifically to direct the new breast center. She has a unique skill set and specialized training in women’s imaging. Dr. Park has directed and designed multiple breast centers since 1992.
She is a member of the American College of Radiology, Society of Breast Imaging, American Institute of Ultrasound and Medicine and Radiological Society of North America. She is a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners.
J. Patel, MD, attended medical school in Baroda, India and completed his internship at Detroit General Hospital. He completed his general surgery residency at Detroit-Macomb Hospital Association in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Patel completed fellowships at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York for general surgical oncology including solid tumor chemotherapy and head and neck surgery and oncology, subsequently he joined the breast department at Roswell Park Memorial Hospital as senior cancer research surgeon for six years.
Dr. Patel has been practicing as a general and oncologic surgeon in the Melbourne area since 1984. His practice is now limited to breast diseases, breast cancer and skin cancers.
Health First offers Breast Imaging at 7 locations throughout Brevard County. Call 321-434-6100 to schedule at a location near you.